tv All In With Chris Hayes MSNBC May 30, 2013 8:00pm-9:01pm PDT
financially. but he left in august. what happened after august, i have no idea. >> pete wald ron gets tonight's "last word." thanks very much for joining us, peter. >> thank you so much. have a great day. >>. chris hayes is up next. last word. thanks for joining us. >> thank you. you have have a great day. chris hayes is up next. good evening from new york. i'm chris hayes. and thank you for joining us. tonight, you've heard of too big to fail, but tonight i'll tell you about a company who was invented to fail and thousands of workers who got robbed in the process. also, a surprising move to restore voting rights by a conservative southern republican governor in contrast with the continued civil rights outrages just one state over. and the absolute craziest political story in north america, probably in the entire hemisphere, got even crazier today. but we begin tonight with this photo, the one you see there on your screen. that's the maverick, john
mccain, meeting with the rebels during his secret mission into syria this week. we showed is you a few of these images of senator mccain hanging out with syrian rebels, like you do, earlier this week. and we talked about the craziness of the whole affair of john mccain sneaking off into an active war zone, freelancing his own foreign policy in the midst of some really very delicate negotiations being undertaken right now by the state department. today, there is a new development in the story of this picture. this picture contains what could be an absolutely explosive revelation about who the syrian rebels actually are, which is the central question of the entire debate over whether and how much and how we should intervene in the syrian civil war. okay, last week, the senate foreign relations committee voted overwhelmingly bipartisan to approve a bill calling for the u.s. to arm some syrian rebel groups. republican rand paul was one of only three no-votes on the committee, and here's what he had to say about the idea of
aiding syrian rebels. >> i think there's an irony that you can't get beyond here, that you will be voting to authorize, to send arm to an ally of al qaeda. these are forces that are allied, fighting against the government of syria, and i have no love lost for assad. i think he's a horrible authoritarian, like so many, but you will be funding today the alla allies of al qaeda. it's an irony you cannot overcome. >> john mccain also had a problem with the bill. of course, mccain was not concerned with whom we should be sending arms to, but however, we should be sending them, whoever they are, heavier weapons, than what's authorized under the bill. john mccain has been called upon to answer the concerns of rand paul and so many other people who worry that arming the rebels in syria will ultimately mean arming al qaeda-linked extremists. now, john mccain knows there are extremist scattered among the rebels in syria. but worry not, america. john mccain has a plan. he's going to figure out which
guys are good-guy rebels, which are bad-guy rebels and only arm the good guys. >> every single day, more and more extremists flow in. whether it be from iraq, whether it be from yemen, whether it be from libya, they're flowing in all tihe time, these extremist. but they still do not make up a sizable portion, so we can identify who these people are, we can help the right people. >> easy pizzi, pick out the right people, give them missiles and stuff. it might sound, what's the word, easier said than done, but that is actually the entire conceit behind the john mccain led arm the rebels movement. the idea you can step into this incredibly complicated, entre h entrenched, sectarianed fuels horrific civil war and pick out the good guys from the bad guys. that conceit is actually foundational to the bill that passed through the senate foreign relations committee last week. which calls for arming, i'm quoting, vetted opposition. as if there's some foolproof
vetting process. like a simple questionnaire, like, do you work for al qaeda? do you hang out with al qaeda? if you had some missiles, what would you use them for? okay, so maybe not so easy. which brings us back to the photo of john mccain hanging out with syrian rebels this week and the big revelation. when this photo surfaced in reports about mccain's secret trip, a guy from lebanon saw it on the news. and he thought to himself, you know, i recognize one of the rebels in that picture. this lebanese guy was on a religious pilgrimage last year, just a religious pilgrimage, and he was crossing through syria on his way back to lebanon and the bus he was riding in was reportedly ambushed by 30 armed men and he was kidnapped and taken hostage along with ten other religious pilgrimage. his kidnappers were from a syrian rebel group, which controls most of the aleppo border along the turkish border. 9 of the original 11 kidnap victims are still being held captive by this rebel group. but one of the two kidnap victims, he's been released.
and he's going through the newspaper and he sees this photo and he says he recognizes this guy, seen hanging out with john mccain in syria, this week, holding a camera, as the photographer and spokesman of the rebel group that kidnapped and held him captive last year. the former kidnap victim telling the lebanon daily star today, quote, i recognized him immediately. he was the photographer who was brought in to take our photos during our captivity. he works with the kidnappers. he knows them very well. now, msnbc news has not independently confirmed that this guy is from the rebel group that kidnapped a bunch of religious pilgrims just for the heck of it. but that is precisely what is so disturbing about this accusation from the lebanese kidnap victim, because, drumroll, neither can john mccain. mccain's office, telling buzz feed only that none of the rebels he met with identified themselves by the name of the
spokesman for the kidnap group, but that if it turns o tut that mccain did accidental meet with a guy from the kidnapper group, that would be, and i am quoting, regrettable. now, imagine the quote you would get from john mccain's office a year from now when, let's just say hypothetically, some surface-to-air missile we shipped into syria ends up shooting down an israeli plane full of passengers. what's a word stronger than "regrettable"? joining me at the table, journalist reela jebreal and matt welch, the author of "mccain: the myth of a maverick." rula, last night this story broke, it had broken in the lebanese papers and you were e-mailing me, extremely upset about this. you said, this is really bad news. why did this upset you? what does this mean for the u.s. and the way it relates to the
region? >> it's -- actually, the visit of mccain is already upsetting, because it comes in in a very delicate moment where we are trying to push both sides to negotiate in geneva. there is no possible outcome of the civil war, we know that. but this photo, and of course mccain is going there in the midst of a private negotiation, posing with the rebels, sending two signs. one, i don't care about the negotiations, i want to go and arm, and no matter what, america will arm. so it sends a message of confusion. >> yes. >> another me think, that's the worst, that we condone what the rebels are doing. that we are actually siding by the sunnis, they're already paranoid in syria. i visited syria and visited lebanon last year for many weeks. and everybody was telling me, there's a conspiracy. american, israeli, saudis, all together, they want to take us out, no matter what. the stakes in this conflict are so high, and that's why there's no major defection, and that's why the shiites are so concerned that there's no future for them
in post-assad era. and this photo confirmed that. >> let me explain this in terms of the dynamics. two major strains of islam, sunni and shia. sunni is majority, shia minority, throughout the region. but there are basically three pillars of shia power in the region. hezbollah, the militia in lebanon, the assad regime, which is a small sect of shia, and the iranian regime. those three are now, together, allies, right -- >> i would add iraq. >> iraq, increasing. those are now allies, fighting against the sunni, the largely sunni -- so it is being understood in the region, and is in the region, a sectarian war, increasingly, between the two dominant strains and john mccain standing there saying, i am posing with a guy who is a sunni who kidnapped, possibly, religious pilgrims, who were just on a bus going to a shrine. matt, this is what i want to hear from you, okay? we in the liberal media, we love to talk about republican civil war. it's like our favorite thing. we write about them all the
time. i've been anticipating, when is there going to be the anti-neo con revolt for real in the republican party? it never materializes. here's rand paul today, he has an op-ed today, he says, about the senate bill, "it is unclear what national security interests we have in civil war in syria. it is very clear that any attempt to aid the syrian rebels would be complicated and dangerous, precisely because we don't know who these people are. like other american interventions in the past, u.s. involvement could actually help the extremists." my question to you, is there an actual real civil war happening inside the republican party over foreign policy and does rand paul represent something bigger than rand paul? >> yes is the short answer. there is a wacko birds, which is john mccain's term for rand paul and ted cruz, after rand paul's filibuster in february, it was the wacko birds trying to get all the media attention, which john mccain was very upset about, because he hates media attention. versus the angry birds -- >> this is the what i we're describing it? >> wacko birds versus angry
birds. but it's lindsey graham, who after the filibuster said, i thought we were at war. using these kind of 2003 vintage types of sloganeering out there, and it's falling on deaf ears both in the american public and the republican party. they're reaching out to democrats. they're looking for democrats who are very serious about being anti-war, being pro-civil liberties and don't really depend on the republican party. but that caucus is growing. there's a bunch of new people in the house who have come in the last couple of years who have come in and they're very seriously anti-interventionists, and they're applying pressure on people like mccain. >> and this also just seems like a textbook case for anti-intervention. someo even someone who doesn't identify as an anti-intervention, even you right now, watching this television show, listening to this about syria, peering into the horror that is absolutely, unquestionably the assad regime, but watching the gears wind up.
everything was paying attention to tornadoes last week when this thing passed out of the senate, and it was like, ho-hum, of course we're arming the rebels. >> if they want to protect american interests, they should put the rebels and the regime and negotiate with china and rush and push them towards geneva. >> geneva is the conference that was announced after john kerry went and visited rush. >> and after long negotiation with the russians. the russians didn't want to hear about it, and today they're in agreement. so what he's doing, john mccain, jr undermining the administration. so shiites in the world today who are paranoid already and feel threatened -- >> and not unjustifiably paranoid. >> not unjustifiably, seeing that we attack them everywhere. they will start attacking americans and maybe even start kidnapping americans around the world in response to this. because this picture actually shows that we are not only condoning, that we're standing by them. the syrian civil war is becoming our war. and this should never become our
war. >> one thing that rand paul pointed out in his op-ed was that, hey, these are the same people calling for arming the rebels, who are calling for arming libyan rebels, and they were assuring us back then, oh, there's no connections to al qaeda, no islamic terrorism involved. that has turned out to be false. >> and also, they turned on a dime once the benghazi thing went down to be like, al qaeda, al qaeda, al qaeda. >> and also the same people, mccain in particular, who was cozying up to gadhafi in 2009. he introduced this idea of rogue state rollback, where basically ifs there a dictator, we will arm the rebels. it doesn't matter who. >> and this is what you get. >> look at them carefully -- >> i don't know -- i want to say for the record, i don't know these gentlemans, so that's a strong statement. but symbolic, that could very well prove to be the case. >> rula jebreal and matt welch, thank you so much for that. pension and retirement benefits of 27,000 workers are
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coming up, senator joe manchin joins me with reaction to a truly reprehensible act by a coal mining behemoth in his home state. and the most outrageous, preposterous, can't believe it's true political scandal of the month, perhaps the year, perhaps the decade gets even weird. i'll talk to the reporter who says she's seen the mayor of toronto smoking crack. stay with us. [fight bell: ding, ding] how many here are google users? what if i was to tell you that you would actually like bing way more than google when it came to the results? prove it. let's look up some taco places. i like the left side. yeah? okay, do we need to find out what the waves are like down at the beach? what side do you like better? i like the results on the right. i'm gonna go with the one on the left. oh! bing won! people prefer bing over google for the web's top searches. don't believe it? go to bingiton.com and see what you're missing.
by while somebody takes away what my daddy built! this is nothing but a scheme! they're trying to bamboozle us, they tried to rob us, they tried to steal from us! peabody's got thousand-dollar-an-hour attorneys! and they got a dollar-an-hour morals. >> united states senator joe manchin is going to join me in a moment to discuss an outrageous story from his home state of west virginia. it is the story of a big coal mining company called patriot coal, which is basically schemed to cheat thousands of its workers and retired workers out of more than $1 billion, with a "b," in pension and health care benefits. thanks to some skillful maneuvering of the bankrupt city, patriot coal managed to get the company to eliminate most of the health care benefits and pensions for thousands of minors and retirees, taking $1.6
billion and turning entitle a voluntary trust that would be funded up to just $300 million in royalty payments. so unless the united mine workers of america can win an appeal, these workers, who already opted for lower wages and fewer vacation days, working with the toxic impurities in a coal mine, as a trade-off to fund those pensions and health benefits, they'll be out of luck. as you can imagine, the judge's decision has sparked a considerable amount of outrage like you saw at the top of the segment. jay rockefeller released a statement saying, it's tragic to watch how some industries treat their workers after they've given much of their lives to these companies. his state colleague in the senate, joe manchin, says this ruling is a travesty. i don't think bankruptcy laws were every designed to shield corporations from their responsibilities. now, companies skillfully working their way through the bankruptcy system to avoid pension obligations, it happens quite a bit. but this is what's particularly egregious about the situation. patriot coal was a company created by the larger peabody
energy in 2007. patriot was spun off from peabody, taking a whole lot of peabody's liabilities, but only a smidgen of its assets. he says patriot coal was created just to go bankrupt. at the time, peabody's cfo happened to announce, hey, look, our health care liability and related expenses will be reduced by 40%. in total, our legacy liabilities, expenses, and cash flow will nearly be cut in half. we now know at whose expense that comes. joining me tonight, senator joe manchin, democrat from west virginia. senator, thank you for joining us. you had strong words about this yesterday. what is your reaction to the judge's ruling on this? >> again, chris, you said it perfectly. it's a travesty. that's exactly how i believe and feel very strongly about this.
these are some of the salt of the earth, the best people you've ever been around in your life, the coal miners, coal miners' families, what they have sacrificed, what they have given to this country. these are people's lives we're dealing with, chris. we're not dealing with corporate liabilities, these are real peoples' lives. and they negotiated in a good faith a contract. and they negotiated with the wages, it was a give-and-take proposition, with the promise that their benefits would be there for them when they rider. and you said it best. basically, you have the parent corporation, which was peabody, spun off patriot in 2007. they spun off with very little assets and an awful lot of liabilities, designed to fail. if that can be proven, that can't happen in america. we can't let that happen, and we're going to have to look and reopen these bankruptcy laws in order to make them take care of that, you know, inequity right now. this is wrong, and we've been talking about this and saying it, we were waiting until the verdict came down.
it's down now. we know what they ruled on. so our people are dissecting it now and i'm sure an awful lot of other people are too. i'm understanding at umwa and patriot, chris, are still talking and negotiating. you need to know where patriot is right now. patriot employees about 4,000 people in west virginia and kentucky. 2,000 of those people employed belong to the united mine workers of america. 1,500 of them, chris, are in west virginia. these are still good jobs. and they're paying and they will pay their benefits. they just can't take the whole load that was dumped on them, and if you think of it this way, chris, this is what's outrageous. when you think that peabody, today, peabody's responsible for about 10,000 minors' retirement benefits, 10,000, and think about this. 90% of those people that peabody's paying the retirement for never worked for peabody. that's where the travesty is.
and that's why we need to look at the parent company, the real culprit of peabody. >> you're a united states senator, this is something that's happening through the judicial branch. is there something you can do in your role as united states senator? what can be done here? >> i would sure think so. you know, back in 2005, is the last time i could find, my staff has been researching this as quickly as possible, that they really revisited the bankruptcy laws. and at that time, it was to guarantee the pensions. for some reason, a loophole on health care benefits was left out, chris. i can't tell you why. i don't know if it was intentional, that's something we should look into. i think it's something we will fix, and it needs to be fixed. nobody, when you think in 2005, that was a republican administration, with a republican legislature. and they saw the inequity of pensions, not being funded properly. >> and they moved -- >> surely they'll see the inequity of a retirement plan and health care benefits not being funded properly also. >> let me ask you this, senator, and quickly, and this is a hard
question, your state has been dependent on coal for a long time. and coal is having a really rough time in the marketplace right now. it's getting pounded by natural gas. in the state of west virginia prepared for a future after coal? >> let me just say this, chris, first of all, not west virginia. this country has depended on the coal produced by the coal miners of west virginia for a long time. the coal miners of west virginia, people should say a prayer every night for a coal miner in west virginia. they gave them the energy, the country, the freedom that helped win the war. coal has been the staple that we've had. it's domestic, it's here in our own country. we've been working our tails off for many, many, many years. and the thing about it is, we can do it and we have the technology to use it even cleaner eia, the division of the department of energy says that coal is going to be 35% of the energy mix through 2040. we need to have more of our
technology and more research done in sequestering and super-critical heating, things that we can do and use our coal resources much cleaner. we need to be independent of foreign oil. and coal is part of it. but right now, it's being, because of market conditions, chris win understand that. we've always been able to go through the highs and lows of the markets. >> but right now, i think it's facing possibly a secular decline. it could be really transformative for the people of your state. senator joe manchin of west virginia, thank you so much for joining us on this important story. >> thank you very much, chris. first conservative toronto mayor rob fort said there is no video of him smoking crack cocaine, now he told his staffers he knows exactly where the video is. one of the few people who have actually seen the video joins me next. aw this is tragic man, investors just like you
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he's not stepping down. in fact, he plans to run in the next election and he's continuing to ignore questions about an alleged video of him smoking crack and the dealer he was allegedly photographed with who got whacked. yes, according to toronto's conservative mayor, rob fort, everything's going fine. the most entertaining and most disturbing scandal in north american politics right now continueses to entertain and continues to disturb, with a slew of stunning new developments. today, two additional members of fort's staff quit. the mayor has lost a total of five staffers in the past week. late this afternoon, ford held a news conference to thank his staff for their service and let the people of toronto know that
work was still getting done. but that was about all that ford wanted to discuss. >> i was elected to keep taxes low and reduce the size and cost of government and that's exactly what i'm doing every single day. i've been interviewing candidates all week and i look forward to hiring new staff as soon as possible. thank you very much. >> have you done any illegal drugs since you've been there. >> anything else? >> have you tried to obtain the video, sir? >> anything else? >> are you upset with the deputy mayor who says he believes there's a tape? does that upset you? >> anything else? >> i think the premiere should take care of the problems that she has at queen's park right now. >> anything else? anything else? >> how did you know -- >> what's going on -- >> there's nothing going on in my office. obvious, i'm bringing in new staff and if people have a better opportunity, i encourage them to move on. >> bringing in new staff.
when asked if he was worried about the reputation of his city, ford offered this sunny assessment a tea party twist. >> not at all, everything's way fine. i'm keeping taxes low, i've saved $1 billion. our taxes are lower than any other north american city. i'll put our city up against anyone. >> by the way, that $1 billion claim, according to canada's most read daily paper, false, absolutely, definitively false. which brings us to ford's consistent denial of the videotape allegedly showing him smoking crack cocaine. last friday, one week after the story broke, ford went in front of reporters to proclaim his innocence. >> there has been a serious accusation from the toronto star that i used crack cocaine. i do not use crack cocaine nor am i an addict of crack cocaine. as for a video, i cannot comment on a video that i have never seen or that does not exist. >> over the weekend, ford repeated that claim, while taking a question from a caller on a radio show he co-hosts with
his brother, doug, also a toronto lawmaker. >> mayor ford, is that you in the gawker video? and is that you photographed with your arm around drug dealer anthony smith? >> there's -- number one, there's no video, so that's all i can say. you can't comment on something that doesn't exist. >> yet as the toronto star newspaper reports today, ford told senior aides no t to worry about a video appearing to show him smoke crack cocaine, because he knew where it was. in fact, according to sources, ford was very specific about the location of the video, offering details, none of which he cared to elaborate on today's news conference. one toronto star's reporter catching a glimpse of his prepared remarks. he had scratched out the line, "i take my role as mayor very seriously." robin has seen the video at the center of this story. i have to start there.
this is like a hitchcock film with this thing that everybody's after, this video. you have actually seen it. so does the video exist? are you sure that that is a video of rob ford smoking crack? >> yes, the video exists. i along with my colleague, kevin donovan, have seen the video. it's crystal clear in our eyes that this is mayor rob ford appearing to smoke crack cocaine. >> okay, you saw the video under the circumstances of it being shown to you, i believe, on an iphone, am i correct? >> yes, kevin and i saw it about, i guess, two weeks ago or a month ago now, on an iphone. >> here is my big question. all this talk about knowing where the video was, isn't this thing just presumably stored as a digital file somewhere? it's not like there's some vhs tape with a courier with a bulletproof suitcase that has the thing? >> no one exactly knows where it is right now. we have an idea of where it is. it's with this group of
individuals who were trying to sell the video to the media for $100,000. they approached gawker in the states as well, and their editor, john cook, has also seen the video and described very similar accounts can as kevin and i. and they certainly told us that thad made a copy. it's not clear if they have made a copy. it may just be on that one iphone. >> that's a really valuable iphone if they have not made a copy. my question to you, what is going on in the reaction to this in toronto? we are watching this in the u.s., i will admit, unaccustomed to spending a lot of time covering municipal politics of your great metro area, which toronto is a fantastic city. how are people taking the in toronto and in canada, writ large? it's a crazy story! >> i don't know how else to say it other than everyone's mind is kind of blown. rob ford has been a very colorful character as long as he's been in public life, which has been a little over a decade and he's been mayor for about two and a half of that.
the star has been reporting on him and his antics and these rumors, investigating them for about a year and a half. we ran a story about 2 1/2 months ago, about his battle with alcohol, and that's kind of started, i guess, opening a pandora's box of this sort of information. and everyone, i don't know, it's every single day, wide-eyed, and just can't believe the next twist and turn, there's a lot of comparisons to "the wire." people are saying up here, and, you know, that's, of course, perhaps an exaggeration. but twitter is exploding every day with it and people are reacting. it's shock across the country. >> so here's the thing that i think is the hardest thing for folks who are not familiar with toronto politics to understand is, how is this guy the mayor? like, what is his political base? is there anyone in the entire country of canada or the city of toronto who believes him right now? who are the people that voted for this guy into office? >> mayor ford is very charismatic and he really
connects with people on kind of an average joe. he's a very wealthy man, his family is very wealthy. they have a company up here and also offices in the states. but he really connects with the working guy. they call themselves, you know, quote/unquote ford nation, which i've written a piece about it, which is kind of canada's tea party. and polls have actually shown that his support has not decreased because of this. he's had a low approval rating in the last couple of years, because he's had a number of gaffes and scandals. but, yeah, his base the sticking with him. and he's a dogmatic, fiscal conservative and he likes to kind of drum that populist beat. >> it was kind of remarkable to watch him sort of spout lines about small government and low taxes in response to questions -- >> he won't talk about drugs, but he will talk about cutting taxes. >> robyn doolittle of the toronto star, thank you so much for explaining this to us. >> thanks for having me. >> we'll be right back with click three.
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protests against the reactionary government of north carolina are gaining steam and momentum. one state to the north, a substantial and surprising victory for civil rights has already been achieved. that's coming up. but first, i want to share the three awesomest things on the internet today. the first is courtesy of media matters for america. fox figures rise in female breadwinners is a sign of society's downfall. it's all about a lou dobbs tonight segment on fox business last night. last night we had a great panel of women, including congresswoman debbie wasserman schultz on for two segments to discuss a study calling breadwinner moms. but over in bizarreo land, lou dobbs tackled the same subject with an all-male panel and this was the predictable result. >> when we're watching society dissolve around us, juan, what do you think? >> something going terribly wrong in american society. >> when you look at biology, look at the natural world, the roles of a male and a female in society, in other animals, the
male typically is the dominant role. >> bottom line, it could undermine our social order. >> for the record, the crew is shaking their head at that last clip. on the upside, i do think it would be awesome if there was a cable news show that just did a right-wing version of our rundown every night. next on lou dobbs tonight, the genius of senator mccain's foreign policy trip to syria. the second awesomest thing on the internet today, this picture tweeted out by actor patrick stewart, with the line, "my first ever pizza slice," please note the authentic new york fold. how is it possible that the 72-year-old star of "star trek" and xmen is just now eating pizza for the first time. the story made headlines, countless other outlets. today, "new york" magazine published an extensive interview. people misunderstood, stewart explained. this was my first slice of pizza, which i was only eating because my fiance and i were a little hung over. he said he had eaten entire pizzas before, but never just a
slice, and when he was a wee little one in england, he had never even heard of pizza. so we know dean martin sang, "when the moon hits your eyes like a big pizza pie, that's amoth amore," he thought he was saying, a big piece of pie. and then the vagina shaped pinball machine, inspired by former congressman and former senate candidate, todd akin. >> first of all, from what i understand from doctors, that's really rare. if it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. >> that's not true, but todd akin can play pinball and try to shut that whole thing with flippers protecting the womb from the sperm.
the female vagina is not like the death star, when fully operational is able to destroy unwelcome sperm. and the vagina is not like a spinball machine either. but study this carefully, and you might learn something. you can find all the links on our website. we'll be right back. [ female announcer ] a classic meatloaf recipe from stouffer's starts with ground beef, onions and peppers baked in a ketchup glaze with savory gravy and mashed russet potatoes. what makes stouffer's meatloaf best of all? that moment you enjoy it at home. stouffer's. made with care, for you or your family.
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voter turnout in past and future elections. it shows the differences in turnout between black and white men in 2012. so according to census data, around $61.4% of black men turned out to vote. that's fairly high. but, and this is the important part, when you account for the hundreds of thousands of black men who are not in prison, but have been stripped of their right to vote as punishment for the crimes, the percentage of eligible black men who voted shoots up to 68%, a 6% jump. a rate that, interestingly, is much, much higher than white men. disenfranchisement is not something we are used to delivering good news about, but this week we have a big victory out of the state of virginia. this letter, sent by republican governor bob mcdonnell yesterday puts in place immediately an automatic restoration process of voting rights for many of virginia's 350,000 felons. and this is in a state where one in five black men cannot vote because of felony
disenfranchisement. now, the amazing thing about this story is who made it happen. conservative governor bob mcdonnell, who's actually been supportive of storing civil rights to felons for quite a while. but here's who is not, virginia's attorney general and gubernatorial candidate, ken cuccinelli, one of the most aggressively conservative figures in the country. he makes ted cruz look like a moderate and he voted against restoring felons' rights five times. yet this week, while delivering his office's recommendations on felony voting rights, he had somewhat of a road to damascus moment. >> i believe we need a simpler way for individuals who want to return to their place in society to be given a second chance. >> this turnaround is a victory from the targeted, sustained activism around the issue in the state, not only of people who are working on voting rights, but even evangelicals who have made this an issue, supported by 71% of voters in virginia, and now the republican candidate for governor, in a state that although it has recently gone
blue, is still part of the old confederacy, still producing at of extremely conservative politician politicians, like e.w. jackson. but just one state away in north carolina, the most right-wing state government in all of america continues to absolutely plow its way through its citizens. sometimes almost literally. protesters have showed up week after week after week on the steps of the statehouse, as part of the moral monday campaign, only to be hauled off by police. each week, the arrest total has gone up to 17 people the first day, then 30, then 49, and most recently, 57. over 153 people in north carolina have now been arrested for peacefully protesting, and they have no plans to stop. the moral mondays movement is gathering steam and plans to continue in peaceful opposition to the legislature's all-out assault on voting rights of north carolinians, but also their economic well-being. joining me at the table, dr. william barber, president of the north carolina naacp.
he has led protests and been arrested in response to the north carolina legislature. also with us, ben jealous, president of the naacp. so this kind of moral coalition happened between civil right activists and evangelical christians, who are part of the base of the republican party. and there's kind of a moral pace made for redemption, for second chances for felons. you are calling the protests you're doing in north carolina moral mondays. why did you choose that name? what does it mean? >> if we can step back for just a second, chris, we've been successful in north carolina and we're being attacked because of the success that we've had for years. we've built this massive coalition. what we see now is an attack that is extreme and immoral by the ultraconservative tea party-backed parties. and when you -- it's extreme to cut 500,000 people out of medicaid. it's extreme to cut 165,000 people on unemployment. it's extreme to raise taxes on
900,000 working people so you can give a tax cut to 23 families. it's extreme to knock 30,000 preschool kids -- poor preschool kids off the rolls. it's extreme to bring money into how you choose your judicial candidates rather than having public financing. not only is it extreme, it's immoral. what we're seeing is we must he can panned the debate. there are some moral and constitutional principles. the moral principle of doing -- the least of these and the constitution the common good that must be at the center of our debate. that's bigger than democrat, bigger than republican. we must challenge those that want to limitivity discussion to you abortion and gender issues. no, this budget is immoral. these extreme acts are immoral and anti-economic future. >> do we talk enough in moral language on this side of politics? >> we don't. we've made a critical mistake
since dr. king died to not talk in the language of our faith enough. it is our faiths that ground many of us. you kind of get into the closet, if you will, of your classic liberal and they're move by their belief in judaism or bu dix, or whatever it is. >> just my own belief in the basic dignity and the basic dignity of each individual human being on this earth and their right to an equal future, which is a faith in and of itself. >> faith and prom. we need to own both. >> i want to talk about how the coalition got put together to win north carolina and how it's working to keep those victories. both tylenol and bayer back & body are proven to be effective pain relievers
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looking at the progress for voting rights in virginia compared with the continued trampling of civil rights in north carolina. back with dr. william barber of north carolina. ben gellis, the naacp. reverend, we were talking about this moral framework and we talk about the moral framework the coalition built in virginia through a lot of hard work and organizing of different constituencies to get this felon disenfranchisement policy changed. are you having success getting people from across the aisle to join in this or is this just a liberal movement at this point? >> well, the current legislature is so extreme, but in the streets we are, because what we've done over the last few years, we built a coalition, rooted in the notion of the common good and rooted in the moral principles of how do you treat the least of these. you know, if you look at the scriptures, more is said about how we treat the poor than any other subject. we've seen blacks and whites and
labor and people of faith and civil rights come together. we have 147 organizations along with 100 branches of naacp and we're taking a comprehensive view. we have to change the way in which we approach public policy. there's some things that are bigger than democrat and republican and who has a majority. it's this common good, the general welfare, establishing justice, caring for your neighbor. those are the kind of constitutional and moral vision that we must bring to this discussion. if we do and we're vigilant at it, we can change the flow of politics in this country. >> but also that -- i mean that all is very appealing to me. but it seems to me that in the south particularly, right, a lot of this are the politics of race in the 21st century. race in the obama era where you have a situation in which white -- the republican party has a lock on the south but there's a white majority, but that white majority is much slimmer than other places and they recognize very clearly that if african-american voters in particular mobilize, register
and turn out, that their hold on power is very tenuous. >> but this is where the evangelical movement in the south gives us opportunity to actually eat away at the old divisions. because you have people who are black and white showing up at many of these charismatic churches together on sunday. >> you see it right there. you can see the faces, yeah. >> and when i sat with governor bob mcdonnell three years ago, what became clear is that both of us who are people of faith believe in the right to redemption, and that's where we connected. and reverend young, who leads the virginia naacp, you know, his movement very much pushing for this right and so we were able to come together right and left and say we believe in redemption. we may not believe -- we may not have a whole lot of other values in common. >> but you've got that. >> but we've got this in common, so we'll move forward on that. >> look at the pictures, we're winning. we're not depressed. >> i've got to say the headlines that come out of north carolina do not make me think, man, we
are winning. they make me think we are getting our butts kicked all over the place because the stuff they are passing is so aggressive. >> we are being attacked because we won. >> what do you mean by won? >> we passed same-day registration. we put together a coalition of blacks and whites, shared values and that's how we won. that's how you got obama. that's how you're getting a new electorate. and the people that are fighting these extremists, they know that there is a new electorate afoot. black, white, lbgt, latino, and that new electorate produces holes in the solid south. >> and, you know, let's be clear here. they're not just fighting people of color, they're fighting their own children. we're talking about people of color of all ages but we're also talking about young people of all races. >> and poor folks of all races. >> yes. >> there are poor white folks in the south, right? there's poor white folks who aren't going to the medicaid in north carolina. >> that's the myth of extremism, that they think these services like medicare, the way they promote it is it's helping a certain group, or they make it a
race element. what we're exposing, 500,000 people omitted, that's immoral and bad public policy. it's hurting blacks, whites, republican, democrat. we're doing 25 tours using this document and we've had a house full of people every day on our tour, blacks and whites coming together and saying this is wrong. >> you know, this is really in many ways the great transforming hope of the south. >> that's why the virginia/north carolina story is so fascinating. you are talking the old confederacy. you're talking the south south south, right, and you're also talking a place that barack obama won twice in a row and north carolina which he won once and narrowly lost the second time, and that's the place where you can see the vision of promise of the new south. >> and let's be really clear. this law in virginia that we just put in this massive dent in this week, when it was put in place, the man who put it in place, the delegate who pushed for it 1901 said because of this plan, the darky shall be eliminated as a factor in less than five years. and so part of what you heard from the governor was his -- frankly his shame about that history. >> chris, you've not fought this hard if you're weak.
they're fighting this hard because a new south is coming. >> reverend dr. william barber, and naacp president, jen gellis, thank you, gentlemen. the rachel maddow show starts right now. thanks for staying with us for the next hour. honestly i'm kind of excited about our show tonight. not because the news itself is exciting and a good news sort of way but because there's a lot of really interesting news going on. and i think this is going to be a good show. anyway, thanks for being here. as we reported last night, it looks like president obama has picked somebody with a remarkable and dramatic political past as his nominee to run the fbi. his name is james comey. he prosecuted the gambino family in new york city. he investigated and brought the indictments in the cobart towers bombing in saudi arabia in 1996. he's one of the people who helped pick patrick fitzgerald as the special prosecutor who went after the scooter libby, dick cheney, valerie plame outing the cia officer